When the Philadelphia Flyers selected goaltender Carter Hart in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, there was immediate excitement for all parties involved.
From the Flyers’ perspective, they were able to acquire the second-best North American goalie in the draft (as per NHL Central Scouting), further increasing the franchise’s count of young netminders.
And as for Hart, he was equally thrilled. The first goalie selected in the draft always gets lofty expectations thrown upon him, and Hart is ready to back up those high hopes.
*This article can also be found on Flyzette.com *
However, Hart first clarified that his selection number doesn’t mean much to him.
“It’s just a number, if you’re first or if you’re the last pick in the draft, you’re still drafted and that’s pretty cool.
“You just have to show up to camp and perform like everyone else.”
And Hart is more than ready to perform at camp. Despite only being 17 years old, Hart is an insanely talented goalie and has the maturity of a steely veteran.
His scouting report from Central Scouting said that Hart is “very poised, patient and calm in the net. He doesn’t get rattled, has an excellent butterfly and seals the ice well with his pads. He can keep his body upright to protect the upper corners, has a good glove hand and good rebound control.”
That sure sounds like the total package! And that’s something that Hart prides himself on. When asked what type of goalie style he plays, Hart provided a well-thought answer.
“I’m more of a reactive, blocking style, I’m not going to just drop straight down to block and hopes it hits me. I’m really one to shift into saves and being able to move out of my butterfly.”
Part of this goes back to Hart’s philosophical background. An article on NHL.com published before the draft (https://www.nhl.com/news/carter-hart-nhl-prospect-braden-holtby-sports-psychologist/c-280162898) detailed Hart’s relationship with his sports psychologist, John Stevenson.
In the piece, Stevenson, who also advises Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, said that he and Hart “talk about controlling what we can control,” and working on focus and tuning out the outside noise.
In today’s world, the role of the sports psychologist, something unheard of just ten years ago, has risen in prominence. As countless athletes, particularly goalies, struggle with the mental aspect of the game, Hart went out and prepared himself by working with Stevenson.
And Hart is not about to let his first Flyers Development Camp throw him for a loop. Despite being the youngest player at camp, he reiterates that he, along with everyone else, is “just here to learn, … to compete against each other, and to … meet a lot of new faces.”
Hart isn’t letting the quantity of top Flyers’ goaltending prospects get in his mind either. He may be one of six goalies at camp, five of which have been acquired in the last calendar year, but if it bothers Hart, you wouldn’t know it.
“I’m not really worried about any of the other guys; there are some good goalies here and it definitely pushes you to be better, but at the end of the day you just have to worry about yourself getting better every day.”
He will face tough competition in Alex Lyon, Felix Sandstrom, Matej Tomek, and even Anthony Stolarz down the road, but Hart has the skill, the attitude, and the mindset of a winner. He will return to the WHL Everett Silvertips for at least two more years, but that does not mean Flyers fans should forget about Carter Hart.
In fact, the next time we see him, presumably at next year’s development camp, Hart will likely be even more pro-ready, at the ripe old age of 18.
With Hart, Lyon, Sandstrom, Tomek, and Stolarz all dueling for notoriety in the Flyers’ system, the Flyers have something now that they haven’t had in years: a real goaltending gold mine.
And leading the way is one Carter Hart.